6 of the Best Autumnal Walks to Explore in the Lake District

With the changing colours of the leaves illuminating the landscape in vivid hues of red and brown, the Lake District is never more breath-taking than during the Autumn months – making it the perfect time to get out and explore one of the many walking routes available.

In this article, we will highlight six of our favourite Lake District trails to experience if you’re visiting the Lakes in September or October – providing any helpful information that will make your day run smoothly.

ROUTE 1 - Ambleside to Grasmere

The first route on our list is the linear trek from Ambleside to Grasmere. This route is a flat walk and great for those who enjoy being out in the countryside but dislike the hard climb that mountain hikes demand.

On this journey through Cumbria, you can enjoy spectacular views and even an off-season ice cream; upon reaching Rydal halfway through your walk, you will probably come across an ice cream van where you can stop for refreshments.

The best method for completing this walk from our holiday apartments in the Lake District is to get a return bus ticket to Windermere, riding the 599 from Windermere up to Ambleside, walking to Grasmere, then taking the same bus back directly to Windermere. The bus journey back between Grasmere and Ambleside is almost as satisfying as the walk itself, as you get to see the trail you just finished quickly played in reverse from the warm comfort of a Lakes’ bus.

ROUTE 2 – Lake Ullswater

A trip to Lake Ullswater from our accommodation might be a long drive to get to, but it is certainly worth the effort in Autumn; this lake is especially still and reflects the Autumn colours beautifully on a misty day.

There are a few viewing places to park around the lake – great for a toasty picnic from the warmth of your vehicle – but also a few walks and boat rides at varying points. If you’re stopping off at Ullswater anyway, you might as well take a walk to Aira Force; one of the most famous waterfalls in the Lake District.

Since you are travelling quite a way from our accommodation in Windermere to see Lake Ullswater at its best, you may want to stop off at the Brackenrigg Inn for a scrumptious bite to eat near the water.

ROUTE 3 – Orrest Head

If you want to make the most of your time in Windermere, then a local walk might be more to your fitting with your busy schedule. Orrest Head’s viewpoint is a famous sight of the Lake District and has undoubtedly changed at least one man’s life; Alfred Wainwright was just another man exploring Cumbria before he climbed Orrest Head, but from that moment cataloguing Cumbria’s best walks became his mission in life.

Orrest Head is a circular route, leaving main roads of Windermere at the A591 by a large sign reading ‘Orrest Head’. It will take you around twenty minutes to reach the summit, so we recommend leaving between fifty-minutes to an hour to complete this walk from the sign: 25-minutes for a casual walk to the summit, 10-minutes to appreciate the views, 25-minutes to carefully navigate back around.

Due to the short nature of this walk, it is also incredibly easy to fit into a busy holiday schedule. If you’re visiting the Lake District on a long weekend and fancy a short hike, this walk will give you everything you need to feel fulfilled, from the doorstep of our luxury self catering accommodation in the Lake District.

ROUTE 4 – Kendal Castle

Another short trip for those with a lot of activities to squeeze into their weekend (or for those who love the views but not so much the hike), Kendal castle is easily accessible from the centre of Kendal and treats you to both amazing views and some interesting castle ruins.

Be warned, the walk up to Kendal Castle might be short, but it is steep. You might want to avoid this walk on a wet day too, as it can also get quite muddy from the heavy foot traffic that assaults this popular destination.

ROUTE 5 – Sizergh Castle

If you’re near Kendal and have already completed the castle, you might want to venture a little further south towards Sizergh Castle. Protected by the National Trust, this medieval fortress is surrounded by beautifully maintained gardens which retain the beauty even through the Autumn months.

You can even hire a scooter if a member of your party struggles with their mobility. For other castles and estates worth visiting around the Lake District, we recommend Lowther Castle and Gardens in Penrith or Wray Castle in Ambleside.

ROUTE 6 – Lake Buttermere

Much like the journey from Ambleside to Grasmere, a circular walk around Lake Buttermere is stunning in every season and relatively flat. This circular route around the lake starts and ends at the Bridge Hotel, traversing around 4.5 miles over approximately 2 hours, depending on your walking speed.

Like Ullswater, Buttermere is known for producing breath-taking reflections of the surrounding countryside on its still waters. If you’re an avid photographer, you will want to bring your camera to document your journey.

Lake Buttermere is located near the charming town of Keswick, where you can regularly find a farmers’ market and lots of dogs.

Of course, there are a few walks around the incomparable Lake Windermere, although we think you might prefer to enjoy its vast beauty from one of the many rowboats you can hire around the Lake, a fabulous Windermere Lake Cruise, or even from your yacht which you can moor on our marina. There’s nowhere quite like Lake Windermere in autumn, but we hope that you enjoy exploring Cumbria to its full potential during your stay.

lake district landscape
bench in lake district
Autumn lake